excess-baggage-370x229by Chrysa Smith

The weather’s getting cooler, Halloween is here and you know what that means—the big holidays are coming fast.  I don’t know about you, but for me, and a significant number of women, I’m hearing that favorite Christmas song  playing over and over in my head, only for us– It’s the most DIFFICULT time of the year. I’m not talking about sentiment, although that is increasing each year too. What I’m talking about is this next two months of over indulgence that requires divine restraint to keep the body and credit cards in check.

It’s been about a month or so since my mailbox began bulging with catalogs. I love looking at them–what’s hot, what’s new. And it gets me thinking about Christmas in advance, so I guess that’s good? But it clicks in that flight-or-fright syndrome in me—-flying me right to the mall or more commonly lately, online to order something I just love. It’s not fair that tantalizing items are sent to me directly to tempt me, taunt me. But there it is.  Mostly clothing for me. I rarely leave a shopping trip without bag in hand.

The calories begin today. I’ve got that stock of Hershey’s chocolate bars for the trick-or-treaters, but you know how that goes. I’ll just have one. Then one becomes three and before long every day, I’m grabbing for the chocolates. Every magazine I see at the check out counter has some delectable seasonal treat on the cover—and as with anything, the more you see of something desirable, the more you want it. Sure, you can keep it out of the house. I often send in the extra Halloween candy to my husband’s office.  Remember having a young trick-or-treater in your house? No wonder the weight creeps up over the years.

What to do about all this temptation? Well according to Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of a bestseller promoted by Oprah many years ago, Simple Abundance, indulge your dreams. That’s not to say to act on them. But to cut out those pictures of the things you love and desire and put them in a folder and wait. I’ve started doing this with clothing I see in catalogs. More often than not, it’s the ‘look’ I love, and I realize that combing through my closet, I can often find items that will give me just that—or something close to it. If something is needed, maybe it’s just a scarf or a simple top rather than an entire outfit. And if the entire outfit is calling to you through the holidays, if budget permits, then go for it. When you revisit it, it may not hold the same allure. And if it does, chances are it may be on sale. OK, you might miss out on it, but then there’s a couple of bucks saved (glass half full).

As for those chocolates and cookies, it’s a bit harder. I think nothing works more than telling myself I will be ok if I don’t have another piece, if my stomach starts growling—or wait 15 minutes and see if I’m really still hungry. When you make it through one of those periods of longing, it fuels you to do it again and again. Or  I look at all I’ve eaten today and see if it still fits into the day’s plan without sending the calories spiraling out of control. Because in the end, it’s all about control. Being in control makes us feel powerful, more confident. So this holiday season, I’m going to try and practice what I preach–keeping temperance in mind as the most wonderful of virtues. And once those post-holiday sales kick in, remind me to revisit my golden advice for 2014.

How do you stay in check through the holiday season?